If I do manage to reach John O’Groats on 29 April as planned, today, 23 March, will be one of the days that would be key in that achievement. For one thing, it was the day that I passed the halfway mark.
It was a day that threw down challenge after challenge, and I wouldn’t say I passed with flying colours but I did reach my destination, eventually. Breakfast on a Sunday is often scheduled for later than weekdays and 8:30 was the earliest spot. The fact that I had planned one of the walk’s longest journeys was either unfortunate or bad planning, depending on how you feel about me. I set out just before 9:30 on a planned 23 mile walk from Long Preston to a small Cumbrian village, Barbon.
I had what I thought was a good route, certainly in a 2 dimensional representation, but I was kicking myself at failing to take into account serious hills. From an early point it was clear I was going to struggle to complete this one in the light and a number of short sharp showers were not helping. When it wasn’t raining or hailing, there was bright sunshine and a nice rainbow or two were appearing.
A Sunday roast lamb lunch was lovely, but I had a shock as I checked my afternoon route to discover there were still 15 miles to go. I set off on a bit of a power walk through a number of small villages before having to negotiate the A65. Time was moving on but I was able to make reasonable progress despite an aching left shoulder and what was obviously a nasty blister forming on the sole of my right foot.
The grass verges were not helping the blister at all and it was a painful late afternoon and early evening. I wouldn’t be such a drama queen to suggest I was close to jacking it all in, but today was as big a struggle as I have had to complete a day. I thought of all the people who had sponsored me, I thought of Pammy, I thought of Lorraine, and how disappointed they all would be if I did give up, and that gave me a lot of strength. I turned into the Barbon Inn B&B just before 7:30, my latest finish. My goodness, my right foot is a bit of a mess, but I patch it up, I go again tomorrow.
Halfway there. More than halfway there. Definitely livin’ on a prayer. 528 miles and still, yes still, counting.